JAPANESE ACERS BY LUCAS MARICONDA
At this time of year it’s easy to get carried away with the vast array of plants on offer that are flowering now. But one group of plants that tend to be in focus more in the Autumn than in Spring are the Japanese Maples or Japanese Acers. At this time of year they are almost magical in appearance.
The surge in temperatures lately has meant that the Japanese Acers have just sprung into life. It’s difficult to express the feeling one gets when admiring the fine delicate, vibrant and fresh foliage of these plants at
this time of year. One amazing example is the Acer Palmatum Shindeshojo known as the Spring Ruby Tree the new leaves which emerge on this tree in Spring are brilliant red, and then the leaves turn colour in Summer to a mixture of light pinks.
Of the many varieties available one favourite has got to be the low growing Acer Palmatum Dissectum Ornatum or Acer Palmatum Dissectum with dissected leaves as intricate as they are beautiful and with such a vibrant colour.
Another favourite maple at this time of year is Acer Palmatum Trompenburg which has a deep almost blood red foliage with a fine palmate leaf structure.
At the nursery I am always asked the best conditions to grow Japanese Acers.
It’s really simple find a semi shady spot in your garden preferably sheltered from prevailing winds and planted into a moist fertile and well drained humus rich soil. Find a specialist nursery that can offer you a few varieties and don’t buy one that’s too young. A great size to start with, depending on habit of course, would be approximately 1m with an age of at least 5 years. Have a bit of patience. They can take a couple of years in the ground to really get going and then look like real specimens.
I would urge you to really consider planting one or more of these beautiful trees in your garden. You will find yourself staring at it through the whole year. In spring you will admire the fresh new foliage, in the summer you will admire it’s grace, in the Autumn you will marvel at the spectacular colours of the changing foliage and the winter brings with it the opportunity to admire the wonderful structure of these trees.
One of our favourite Japanese Gardens in London showcasing Acer trees is the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park – worth a visit if you’re in the area.